Archive for the ‘full moon’ Category

OGRELD and that Other F-word   Leave a comment

Fake Druidry and OGRELD and OGRELD Redux are two previous semi-satirical posts taking a look at an imagined “One Genuine Real Live Druidry” (OGRELD). The prompt — and the acronym — come from a comment from J. M. Greer quoted in the first post: “… none of us have any right to claim possession of the One Genuine Real Live Druidry …”

With post titles like that, of course, it’s hard to be surprised when they provoke some predictable responses, from careful readers, and from careless ones, too; from readers assuming I was saying modern Druidry is somehow fake or invalid — or more offensively, that I was somehow saying their particular flavor of Druidry was fake, etc.

After all, if we’re indulging in reaction-mode to contemporary headlines, we know how “fake” gets bandied about as an attack word, almost superseding the “original” F-word. “If in doubt, try both out” — in public (or, worse, on Facebook or Twitter) and see which raises the general temperature sooner.

I submit that if you’re looking for spiritual guidance, a sense of your life’s mission, social media may not be your ideal first pick or best go-to.

What then are we to make of the expression “fake it till you make it”? Are we so provoked by the word “fake” because in fact so many of us feel slightly or very insubstantial, a “thing of nothing”, and we need the sense of outraged ego to weigh us down and keep us from floating away entirely?

Might there possibly be better ways of grounding and centering, of returning my ego to a sane place, where it can serve the whole of me?

We’re in the process of making, and in particular of self-making, and fakery (like bakery) does begin with experimentation. But if I’m polite, I just don’t subject others to my practice unless they ask. (You visit this blog, and you’ve asked.)

/|\ /|\ /|\

So how do I go about faking it till I make it? What tools lie at hand?

This coming Saturday I facilitate an afternoon discussion, third in a series, this one on the topic “How to Bring More Love into Your Life”. This is an opportunity for service on my other path, and as I’ve noted, my paths intersect constantly. So, Druid self, standing in the intersection, what do you witness?

In the way of such things, I start to hear questions in reply to the implied question of the topic. (Answer the question with a question.) A week or so before such an event, I begin to pick up on clues, and gather impressions. If I’m alert, I get them down, longhand or in a computer note. Or, to put it another way that sounds less woo-hoo, “it just occurred to me that …” And yesterday, I also asked my wife.

Often she doesn’t like to be ambushed by big questions out of the blue, especially if she’s in the middle of a weaving project (which she often is), and her focus in on patterns, and thread-counts and the young weaver she mentors each Friday. But I also find she often gives the best answers then, spontaneously, so I keep asking, at the risk of occasional spousal fallout.

A pause. Then she says, “Before I look at anything, or put my attention on anything else, I try to focus first on the highest I can find”. Do you see why I married her?

The “highest I can find” is a worthy meditation topic. Then a practice, one I can keep enlarging. And I don’t mean all abstract or “light only”. The highest this morning may well be the chickadees and returning songbirds singing outdoors, the steady drip of snowmelt off the eaves, the slant of light that says longer days, yes — and also the nights, with their stars and a waxing moon. Often it takes night to see fire best.

One way to bring more love in, in other words, is to honor and cherish what you have. If those words recall for you as for me the now old-fashioned marriage service, that’s worth pondering. We’re each married to the cosmos, after all. We’re always “in a relationship”. Why let my carelessness diminish it?

What other ways can I open the door to a greater flow of spirit, which is another way of saying the same thing?

IMG_1836

Make room for it. If more is to come in, it will need a place to call its own. “Standing room only” doesn’t appeal much as an invitation. What can I clear away? “Room, fairy: here comes Oberon!” says Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. What access do I offer spirit to the heart of who I am? What practices can help me be more grateful and open?

Much of what I do each day, like washing dishes, building the fire, doing laundry, is a ready opportunity. If I “do it till it sings”, I might even find myself singing along with it. “Pure cheese!” screeches my censor, my inner cynic. Well, cynics and censors need love too.

Singing points to another clue. Like all things, we vibrate in harmony with the things around us. Vibrate with love, and we invite love in, we make room for it.  (If in doubt, I whisper to my inner cynic, try it out.) That may mean playing music rather than indulgence in a sad mood. Though sadness can be instructive too, if I don’t overdo it. With so much light and singing in the world, I want to let more in.

On an Old English Facebook group I co-admin, I posted a brief entry earlier today: On ðǣm forman dæġe Hrēðmōnaþes sēoð wē fulne mōnan. “On the first day of Hrethmonth, we (will) see a full moon”. (Hrethmonth is the month of the goddess Hrethe about whom not much is known. If you’re looking for a meditation topic, there’s a new one. Hrethmonth is also “Wild Month”, and the month for Mad March Hares. Practice wildness often. Druidry is, after all, wild wisdom.) The full moon brings the time for the monthly Peace Meditation that OBOD encourages. Lunatic, lover, poet, the gods and the wild world know your name.

Yes, we each practice our One Genuine Real Live Druidry. That is, we each respond to the unique circumstances as we live these lives on earth, making bad and better choices and ignoring or learning from the consequences.

If you seek counsel, friend, do what opens your heart.

/|\ /|\ /|\

Advertisements

Posted 27 February 2018 by adruidway in Druidry, full moon, spiritual toolkit

Tagged with , ,

Strawberry Moon   2 comments

The June full moon, often aptly named the Strawberry Moon, actually reaches its fullest tomorrow (Friday) morning, but most North Americans will see it at its peak tonight.

IMG_1722

wild strawberries, north yard — perfect reason not to mow

 

Tonight I’ll offer my full moon ritual for the health of the hemlocks that line the north border of our property, as well as other beings, “quando la luna è crescente” — while the moon’s still waxing. As the full moon nearest the summer solstice less than two weeks away, Strawberry Moon plays counterpoint to the shortest night and longest day of the year, and governs the first of the true summer months here in New England. I’ll be posting a follow-up in the next weeks.

IMG_1720

“queen” hemlock, 50 ft. tall, visible from where I write

As Dana has so passionately documented on her Druid Garden site, including a powerful ogham/galdr healing ritual, the eastern hemlock battles against the hemlock woolly adelgid, widespread enough that it’s gained its own acronym — HWA. The adelgid, an aphid-like insect, is just one of several pests that afflict the trees, but one not native to North America and a factor in near-complete mortality in infested areas. As a commenter on Dana’s blog notes, natural biological agents offer the best and least toxic means of control and containment. The United States Dept of Agriculture site summarizes the situation well.

And if you ask why, Our true self and the land are one, says R. J. Stewart. As always, test and try it out for yourself. That ways lies deep conviction, replacing casual opinion with earth loved, spirit manifest, life full.

/|\ /|\ /|\

East Coast Gathering 2016   2 comments

campsignkc

photo courtesy Krista Carter

The 7th OBOD East Coast Gathering (ECG) took place this last weekend with over 100 Druids, friends and family gathering at Camp Netimus in NE Pennsylvania. [Go here for accounts of previous Gatherings.]

Netimus, a girls’ summer camp, has welcomed us each autumn for Alban Elfed, the Autumn Equinox. The non-human staff of coyotes, hawks, dragonflies, chipmunks and owls lets us know they know we’re present, too, adding their own wild signatures to the rituals, the evening fire circles and the day and night-time hours.

img_1445

Hex in his drumming workshop

This year we celebrated the turning of the year among ourselves, without the headline special guests that can make registration for the Gathering a matter of internet frenzy and growing wait-lists.

We initiated ten new Bards, two Ovates and two Druids into the Order, as well as holding workshops on fairies, crystal jewelry, drumming, moon wisdom and beekeeping, and gathering in the camp dining hall for meals our devoted kitchen crew volunteers prepare with love, laughter and long hours of hard work.

Each evening brings the fire circle, always a draw. And this year we organized a more competitive eisteddfod, showcasing our singers, storytellers, musicians, dancers, fire-spinners and mead-makers, culminating in a final round on Saturday.

fireecg16-2

photo courtesy Gabby Roberts

 

The Ovates gathered mugwort Saturday morning as we prepared our gift to the Tribe during the main Alban Elfed ritual Saturday afternoon. An invasive that can take over, mugwort nevertheless has healing properties, healthful in teas and soothing as a smoked herb, too (when it smells remarkably like pot!).

mugwort2

photo courtesy Krista Carter

 

Preparing for Ritual

cb-and-nc

photo courtesy Nadia Chauvet

 

A nearly full moon rose overhead each night, bathing the Gathering in light, and making the Camp paths and steps a little easier to navigate if, like me, you forgot all three nights to fetch your flashlight from your cabin before dark — needing a light to find your light!

moonecg16

photo courtesy Alec Mayer

The rain — thank you, Spirits of Place! — held off till shortly after the closing ritual Sunday morning.

/|\ /|\ /|\

The reason Camps like this happen at all is that enough people are willing to give of themselves. Rather than complain about what doesn’t happen to their own narrow liking, enough people contribute to what does.

And among the thanks, reminiscences and anecdotes that always leave us both smiling and teary during the final ritual, several comments stood out, like Frank’s. He thanked us for the opportunity to serve. Those people in our lives that we come to value the most are those who give without drama or ego display.

Our closing ritual talked of all four elements, including the humility of water, that takes whatever shape we ask. Alban Elfed, Light on the Water, is a festival of the West, of Water, of balance and change, the dynamic that Druids revere, and strive to navigate with all the grace and wisdom we can muster.

druidundertree

photo courtesy Alec Mayer

 

Thank you, everyone, two and four-footed, winged, scaled, legless, and unbodied, who made this ECG another splendid opportunity for the Tribe to gather and celebrate and grow.

/|\ /|\ /|\

Yule Moon and Solstice   4 comments

Some three weeks away, now, there’s a Full Moon on Christmas Day, at 6:11 am, Eastern Standard Time (U.S.). It will set less than an hour later where I live, so I won’t obsess over exact astronomical details or feel any need to rouse myself on a dark winter morning to witness it, but instead enjoy it the evenings before and after.

The Solstice, however, is different, and merits a different welcome. While I’m not sure I’ll keep the traditional night-long vigil through the longest night to greet the dawn, I will be up late, laying one last charge of wood in the woodstove, and contemplating the coming new year. And the afternoon before and after I’ll take part in a Solstice ritual in two different towns.

Why? Do the seasonal festivals really matter?

woodpile

Yes, this is a pile of sticks and small branches in an old orchard and pasture near where I live. You can see the long shadows of the tree-trunks — it’s late afternoon in November, a week ago. The owner cut a dying tree from the treeline that stands to the left, outside the picture. He’s already chopped, split and picked up the firewood, and gathered the remainder here.

Is it useful? No. It’s just brush. Burn it or dump it in a gully.

Is it useful? Yes. It’s kindling for a whole winter, and twigs for wreathes and crafts.

Is it useful? Who knows? That depends on how someone uses it.

Sometimes I find you have to ask the same question at least three times to get enough answers to work with.

Follow through on each answer and you get a different outcome. Is one of them the “right” answer? Who is asking?

/|\ /|\ /|\

One of the suggestions for solitary celebration of the Winter Solstice that I’ve adapted and adopted from OBOD is this simple rite:

On the longest night, go through the house and turn off all lights. Spend time feeling and acknowledging the darkness. Then light a single candle, and go from room to room, lighting a candle in each one. Say what feels right for you to say.

Touching the Sacred, Part 3: Days of Beltane   Leave a comment

[Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4]

[To the tune of “The Twelve Days of Christmas”]

On the second day of Beltane, the Old Gods said to me:

Dance round the fire, and then say what you truly long to be …

I always find Beltane lasts longer than a single day. This year I’m celebrating it over three days, from yesterday, the “official” May-Day, through tomorrow, with the Full Moon at its peak at 11:42 pm, Eastern Standard Time in the U.S. (that’s 03:42 Greenwich Time, May 4).

Do you carry a private moon with you? At times like these I feel I do.  It’s tucked under my ribcage, trembling like a small forest creature that’s heard an owl: I have a lunar heart. Or in place of my mouth, a moon. No words, just white shadow wherever I turn to speak.

I do the original moonwalk, following shimmering paths visible at no other time. Or I hold out my hands and each palm glows with a hemisphere of unearthly light. I clap them together and the blow sparks new planets all up and down my spine.

Loenid Tishkov:

Leonid Tishkov: “Private Moon”

Festival observances, like other rituals, can make us vulnerable to ourselves in powerful ways. Often we’re taught to leave dreams in childhood, as if adults don’t need to dream at all, let alone dream bigger than we ever dared as children.

Open myself to desire and dream, and longings I’ve shoved aside, sometimes for years, can rush back full-force. What I still dream and wish for are gifts my childhood has kept in store. Not just for the grown-up me, though it can feel that way. These gifts may have taken human or animal form, wandered homeless, raggedy and broken and weeping, or snarling, feral, wild things no child could understand. Things it runs from, things that hide under the bed, in the closet, that stretch and loom after the bedroom light gets turned off.

But the child also recognizes them as blood kindred, curls up with them each night, and each dawn they glimmer and vanish till the next twilight gathering. They reappear in that book you read and re-read till it fell apart in your hands, in the story no bedtime retelling could ever wear out. The childhood rituals that primed you for adult ones of deeper mystery: sex, death, creation.

What I do with them now are the gifts I give back to that younger self, some fulfilled, others still orphans. But I have brought them out and looked at them head on, and hugged them. I take them in even as I give them back. And in that circuit lies power.

Beltane pairs with Samhuinn across the ritual year, its opposite pole, and this Beltane-with-a-Scorpio-Moon I’m feeling it particularly strongly. No surprise, the astrologically-minded say:

The sun is now anchored in the sign of Taurus. Beltane occurs when it is precisely half way through the sturdy earth sign. The sign is symbolized by the fertile bull and, given its association with the fecundity of the springtime in the Northern hemisphere, Beltane in particular is a full-fledged celebration of life, creativity and the abundance of the upcoming summer season.  

But, its polarity, Scorpio, is not. 

Scorpios domain deals with matters that no one else wants to: the vile, the putrid, the petrifying, the intense, the rejected, the betrayed, the scorned, the scathing, the denied and the dead. Scorpio reminds us that we can repudiate anything for an eternity but that doesnt mean it will be resolved, it doesnt mean that it will be repaired, and it doesnt mean that it will go away. 

Ritual is one way to approach the difficult as well as the beautiful, to manage them in more bite-sized (ceremonial-sized) pieces. And sometimes, to discover the beautiful and the difficult, the deformed and the immensely powerful, amount to the same thing.

Beltane carries Samhuinn in its belly, or on its back. Or Samhuinn is Beltane turned inside-out. Both are fire-festivals, and fire does not always lie easily on the hearth. Sometimes it flames forth, blows past barriers and oppositions in its guise of wildfire.

More in the next post.

[Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4]

 /|\ /|\ /|\

Images: Leonid Tishkov/”Private Moon”;

Beltane 2015 and Touching the Sacred   1 comment

[Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4]

Here we are, about two weeks out from Beltane/May Day — or Samhuinn if you live Down Under in the Southern Hemisphere. And with a Full Moon on May 3, there’s a excellent gathering of “earth events” to work with, if you choose. Thanks to the annual Edinburgh Fire Festival, we once again have Beltane-ish images of the fire energy of this ancient Festival marking the start of Summer.

beltane
You may find like I do that Festival energies of the “Great Eight”* kick in at about this range — half a month or so in advance. A nudge, a hint, a restlessness that eases, a tickle that subsides, or shifts toward knowing, with a glance at the calendar. Ah! Here we are again!

For me, that’s regardless of whether I’m involved in any public gathering, or anticipating the time — because it’s never anything as rigid as one single day, but rather an elastic interval — on my own.

Yes, purists may insist on specifics, and calculate their moons and Festivals down to the hour, so as not to miss the supposed peak energies of the time. And if this gives you a psychological boost to know and do this that’s worth the fuss, go for it.

Below is Midnightblueowl’s marvelous painted “Wheel of the Year” (with Beltane at approximately 9 o’clock). With its colors and images, it captures something of the feeling of the Year as we walk it — a human cycle older than religions and civilizations. Or the cycle helped make us human, changing us as we began to notice and acknowledge and celebrate it. Try looking at it both ways, and see what comes of that.

Wheel_of_the_Year

Painted “Wheel of the Year” by Midnightblueowl. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

 /|\ /|\ /|\

For today I take as divination the message below, which got promptly diverted to the spam folder: “This page decidedly has whole of the information I precious astir this dependent and didn’t make love who to ask.”

O crazy spam-scribe of the ethers, you stumbled onto one of the Great Paradoxes, best stated by William Blake, with his “infinity in the palm of your hand, eternity in an hour.” In that sense, yes: this page “decidedly has whole of the information” though it is also what it is, a finite thing. Like each of us, like the tools we use to connect to What Matters, like the sneaking suspicion that will not go away that there’s Something More. (Even if it’s just an explanation of what’s up with all these capital letters, anyway?)

And since Beltane’s approaching, there is indeed a “precious astir” at work as the energies swirl.  Who or what is “dependent”?! The writer of the spam, not knowing “who to ask” and even acknowledging he “didn’t make love.” And all of us, dependent on the earth and each other.

I bless you, oh Visitor to this e-shrine, workshop, journal — the many-selfed thing that blogs can be and become. Who to ask? you inquire. Your inward Guide, always present and waiting for you where you are most true. Or the face of the Guide as it manifests again and again in your life — stranger at the market who smiles at you, bird that catches your eye, tune you find yourself humming.

How to get there, that place we all long for, that colors our thinking and follows and leads us in day- and night-dreams? Place that Festivals and holidays and time and pain and love and living all — sometimes — remind us of? Ah, you mean The Question! Love, gratitude, service — all things any of us can begin today; all things, it’s important to remember, we already do in some measure, or we would die. Too easy? Or you already know that? There’s also ritual — finite, imperfect ritual, our human dance. Mark, O Spirit, and hear us now, confirming this our sacred vow … 

What’s your sacred vow? Don’t know yet? Got some work to do? Tune in to the next post for more.

[Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4]

/|\ /|\ /|\

Image: Beltane Edinburgh Fire Festival; painted Wheel of the Year by Midnightblueowl

*The “Great Eight” yearly festivals with their OBOD names: Imbolc, Alban Eilir/Spring Equinox, Bealteinne, Alban Hefin/Summer Solstice, Lughnasadh, Alban Elfed/Autumn Equinox, Samhuinn, Alban Arthan/Winter Solstice. Many alternate names exist, and almost every one has a Christian festival on or near it, too.

%d bloggers like this: